Professor Melinda Edwards was originally an Associate in the Dispute Resolution division of Cooper Grace & Ward Lawyers Brisbane, before becoming a Professor in the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology. From 2006 – 2011 she held the position of Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty and in January 2013 she created MeWise Pty Ltd to take her passion for empowering people into the commercial world.
She has been nationally recognised for her teaching excellence and has more than 20 years experience In developing and delivering both conceptual and skills-based courses including undergraduate units in Foundations of Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Civil Procedure and Equity and Trusts along with Masters units in Mediation, Clinical Negligence and Negotiation Strategies in the Executive Masters in Complex Project Management. She has published extensively in these areas including a number of text books in Equity and Trusts Law.
Melinda has conducted commercial research projects and professional development courses in mediation, negotiation and conflict resolution for lawyers, government agencies and community groups throughout Australia and internationally and has completed overseas training courses in teaching negotiation, including the Harvard Law School Senior Management Program. She brings a strong cross-cultural perspective to her work as a result of her experience as the academic leader of the Faculty of Law Asia-Pacific Linkage Grant to build Justice capacity in the Kingdom of Bhutan, her role as the external examiner to the Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shah Alam, Malaysia and her work with Bridges Across Borders South East Asia (BABSEACLE), delivering clinical legal education in Alternative Dispute Resolution throughout Thailand.
Her years in University and Corporate Education have taught her the difference between knowledge and wisdom, and she focuses her teaching and learning strategies on delivering learning to empower people and connect with their intrinsic motivation to enable change. She believes that this is most effectively achieved through first understanding the context of the client organization’s needs and then crafting interactive programs to encourage individuals to explore new techniques in a safe environment where mistakes can be learned from and wisdom, as distinct from just content knowledge, can grow.
In MeWise Melinda draws together a team of highly experienced professionals who also share her passion for experiential education. They can come to your people anywhere in the world, on your schedule, to meet your organization’s needs.
Adjunct Professor Iyla Davies was admitted as a solicitor in 1984 and then served a law academic specializing in family law, dispute resolution and mediation. She has also held community leadership roles as the Queensland and National President of Relationships Australia and as a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Specialist Accreditation Board.
Most recently Iyla was the Head and Chief Executive of The Women’s College within the University of Queensland, retiring from that position in July 2016 to focus on her many Board appointments.
Jacki O’Mara is a solicitor who has worked in both the private and public sectors providing advice on policy development and dispute resolution processes. She has studied mediation and participatory processes at the Harvard Law School and has assisted with teaching and assessment in undergraduate and Masters level alternative dispute resolution and mediation courses at QUT. Jacki is committed to working with clients to ensure the benefits of effective negotiation and communication are achieved to significantly improve working relationships.
Col McCowan OAM is the Director of the company Cromach Careers and has authored or co-authored a number of publications including, Working the Web: A guide to career planning via the Internet and The Guide to Career Education for personnel working in Australian schools. He is an International Fellow of the UK-based National Institute of Career Education and Counselling (NICEC), on the Editorial Board of the Australian Journal of Career Development (AJCD) and a prolific contributor at both national and international levels including being responsible for the 2008 International Symposium on Career Guidance.
He has worked extensively as a consultant for organisations such as UNICEF, UNDP and AusAID in Bhutan, Vietnam, Thailand and Oman and has also managed a wide range of projects addressing specific organisational issues which have included extensive staff development and capacity building.
Janne McCowan is an experienced Principal of large primary schools both in the city and in rural towns. Before that, she was Deputy Principal of a large primary school in a mining town. In those schools, she was instrumental in setting high learning goals and achieving excellent outcomes and in establishing a strong behaviour management culture.
She has a two year Diploma in Education from the Queensland University of Technology, a four year Education degree from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Certificate in the Education of Children with Specific Learning Difficulties.
She is currently enrolled at Griffith University in a Research Masters investigating children who are disaffected learners. She is a fully trained expert in the world renowned Behaviour Management Program promoted by William (Bill) Glasser from the USA, which focusses on training young people in the use of self-control in social situations.
Since her formal retirement she has been undertaking contract work in supporting children with learning difficulties in a school located in a low socio-economic area of Brisbane. As well as working directly with students, she has been helping teachers establish productive programs, approaches and skills. She also participates in a teacher mentoring program for teachers with challenging students.
She has volunteered her services in three independent primary schools in Thimphu, Bhutan since 2009 – undertaking different tasks in each school. Janne also participates in a variety of voluntary activities for charities and local institutions in Brisbane, Australia.
John Edwards has over forty years’ experience in supply chain in both the military and resource sectors. John assist with the logistics of all MeWise operations and is the principal consultant for our pro bono wine project in Bhutan. He is a past president of the Gourmet Club in Brisbane, Australia, and has strong connections with wine makers throughout the country. In 2012 he started Bacchus Pty Ltd to work with Australian winemaker Matt Burton (Gundog Estate Wines) to blend, bottle and import red wine into the People’s Republic of China. John has a strong commitment to supporting Bhutan to develop its industry and become more self-sufficient into the future.
Sope Agbejule is an undergraduate law student assisting with research and pro bono tasks. He has served as a first year representative on the Griffith University Law Society and has a keen interest in negotiation and conflict resolution. He has participated in multiple Model United Nations Conferences and was a finalist and winner of the 2011 Blake Dawson Junior Negotiation Competition. Sope has also served as the youth member for Algester on the 2010 YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament which encourages youth engagement in community affairs. He believes that effective communication of positions and interests can help resolve disputes.
Veronika Vanišová holds a master of laws degree from Charles University in Prague where she is currently researching her PhD. She has participated in several Youth in Action training programs supported by the European Union. In 2011 she was a member of the Charles University Vis Arbitration Mooting team. In 2012 she attended the ICC Mediation Moot Court in Paris and volunteered as a legal intern for Bridges Across Borders South East Asia (BABSEACLE) in Thailand. She is a co-author of the invited chapter to the EU Mediation Law and Practice publication concerning mediation law in the Czech Republic and participates in a variety of philanthropic domestic projects. Veronika believes that big things are achieved through small everyday acts and that it is through helping individuals that we can most effectively change the world.
Michaela is a student at the Charles University Faculty of Law in Prague. She works as a paralegal for PRK Partners. In 2012 she joined the Street Law project, which aims to give a practical law background to non-lawyers. As a part of this project she teaches a law seminar at the Christian Doppler Secondary School and she has organized several mock trials for primary and secondary school students. She is dedicated to community work and because of that she has volunteered for various non-profit organizations including BABSEACLE in Thailand and L’Arche in France. Michaela believes that everybody is capable of extraordinary things and sometimes all it takes is just a little encouragement.
“ Business is a human activity, so empowering your humans is a smart business strategy ”
– Melinda Edwards
“ As the issues facing the mining industry reach a new level of extremity, it has become eminently clear that resolution requires a new type of response…it is becoming increasingly incumbent upon mining executives to broaden their purview by fostering improved collaboration – across their own organizations, among industry players, and with communities and governments around the world. ”
– Deloitte – Tracking the trends 2012 p.28.
“ In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. ”
– Albert Einstein
“ Our lives are not dependent on whether or not we have conflict. It is what we do with conflict that makes the difference ”
– Thomas Crum
“ People who are only good with hammers see every problem as a nail. ”
– Abraham Maslow
“ Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. ”
– Timothy Bentley
“ Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it. ”
“ People, planet and profit are not alternative goals or a compromise result. A positive impact on people and planet can be achieved whilst also delivering profitable growth ”
– Peter Fisk